Ulster Bank is to slash its mortgage rates following a massive consumer switcher campaign.
The offer, negotiated as part of the One Big Switch campaign, will allow thousands of homeowners to avail of lower payment rates.
More than 9,000 households signed up to the campaign, which is one of the first mortgage collective switching campaigns carried out on a national scale anywhere in the world.
As part of the deal, Ulster Bank will reduce its four-year fixed mortgage rate to 3.29% for switchers and the bank’s existing customers. Eligible customers must have a mortgage worth 60% or less of the value of their home to avail of the offer.
The bank’s best fixed rate at the moment is 3.65% over three years while its standard variable rate is 4.3%.
The offer will also see Ulster Bank make a contribution of €1,500 towards legal fees and provide free property valuations. A fast-track credit and affordability assessment process for switchers will also be provided.
Ireland has one of the highest variable interest rates in Europe.
One Big Switch co-founder Oliver Tattan said the deal is a big step forward for consumer campaigning.
“Today’s offer is a big win for people power, and a big win for consumers, who desperately need a more vibrant and competitive mortgage market,” he said.
“Having over €1bn worth of buying power meant the campaign could shake up the mortgage industry and make a real difference to the level of competition in the Irish market.”
Mr Tattan said members had been urging One Big Switch to run a mortgage campaign “for years”.
“To see all that passion, and co-ordinated action have such a positive outcome is solid proof that Irish consumers are determined to get their voice heard,” he said.
Director of customer experience and products at Ulster Bank, Maeve McMahon, said the rate changes would be of real benefit to thousands of homeowners.
“Ulster Bank is focused on becoming the number one bank for customer service, trust, and advocacy and in that context, we are delighted to respond to the huge demand evident through 9,000 sign-ups,” she said.
“Through our partnership with One Big Switch we will make these market-leading fixed rates available to new and existing customers. All switchers will also receive our €1,500 contribution toward legal fees and a free property valuation — real help for what matters. These products expand our fixed rate range and allow customers the opportunity to fix their monthly repayments and plan their finances with confidence.”
More than 90,000 households have already used the power of One Big Switch to unlock discounts on energy, health insurance, and broadband.
In 2014, One Big Switch obtained a special offer for new customers who switched to Bord Gáis Energy, as well as discounted offers for members who are already with the supplier.
That same year, it also secured group discounts of around €325 per household from energy retailer Energia.
Consumers can join the campaign for free, and get full details of the offer at www.onebigswitch.ie. The offer closes at midnight, May 20. There is no obligation to take up any One Big Switch offer.
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